mm hmm. All I can say is, wow, today's podcast will feature autumn and Chris. Bennett at Karen, the load we often talk about the power of stories and the power of owning your own story with social media. Our lives have become somewhat transparent. Everything that we ate for dinner last night or shared videos of our family's latest vacation have become something that we've been able to easily recreate. There are some things though that maybe we wouldn't want to recreate. Those are the times in our lives, we might not be very proud of decisions that were made that might have created hurt distrust or loss of relationships. Those are the uncomfortable moments. We sometimes wish we could just sweep under the rug owning your story can sometimes be difficult or maybe even embarrassing, especially when personal tragedy is involved if we can't learn from our decisions and actions. So the experience becomes an even greater tragedy. Ottoman Chris have been friends of ours for about 15 years and I'm going to tell you they owned their story. It's a hard one. It's one of broken trust in marriage and almost impossible decisions. The both of them had to make after confronting the truth of addiction.
This is part one of a two part conversation with the Bennetts. Hi everyone. It's marketing that with Karen the load and uh, we're sure excited tonight to Have some of our best friends with us here. We've got Ottoman Chris Bennett who we've known for probably, I'm guessing about maybe 13, 15 years there and when we moved about five years ago, one of the hardest things about the movies, you know, is leaving France. And even though we're only about 15 minutes away, it's kind of hard sometimes, isn't it? Especially, especially times during this last four or five months as we've been kind of quarantine, but we're sure glad to have you with us this evening. Thanks for having us. Glad to be here. Thank you so much. So let me let me share a few thoughts with with you about Ottoman chris and our association. 1st. 1st of all, I got to tell you that one of the things I love about these two are the fact that they'd like to do some of the things that we like to do.
They're big hikers uh hike every morning. Uh Some of the photographs that you've taken are just absolutely beautiful. Were some of the places you've really enjoyed hiking this year. The Fight for Horn usually like the amazing peaks are going to be the Fight for Horn. We just finished Mount Nebo. So the highest peak in the Wasatch Front. We did that. Not me. Yeah, you've been on many of those hikes to. I've been on some of the smaller ones. Yeah. Mhm. And then Davenport Hill, which is like if you want to ever go see like a ton of flowers, like and I mean a ton of flowers that looked like God took a handful of seeds and just shook him up like a whole bunch of different kinds and then just spread them out everywhere. And they are like gorgeous. They're just lit up everywhere. And I've seen, I've seen the pictures that you've you've taken with those there professionally. These weren't just with your telephone that you took. These pictures are really no kidding. Well I'm very impressed there. But you love to hike. And one of the things I love about the two of you as you like to laugh and smile as well.
That's a big part of your marriage, isn't it? It's really the only way to get through life is to be able to laugh. I remember some of our most difficult times and and others would be joining us and and after they said to me, but you guys were laughing, How can you laugh? And I said that's how we survive. Yeah, very often it is, isn't it? And so you know last week we had a podcast about the importance of smiling about laughing and having an attitude of just pure happiness. And we know that uh every day we don't have the happy disposition that maybe you would like to have. Some days are difficult. Some weeks are difficult. Some months, maybe even some years are difficult. Yet we find we find that the commonality that allows us to at least try to heal, try to have the hope try to recover sometimes from things really comes from being able to laugh.
You know, as we begin our podcast today, I wanted to start with a quote by Brene Brown and I know that you like to read Renee Brown. We, we love to read Renee Brown as well. And one of the things that she often talks about is owning owning uh your, your story, she says to owning your story is the bravest thing that you'll ever do now. That's an important quote given the subject that we wanted to talk about this evening. And I'll tell you right now that the subject that we're gonna be talking about is a rather sensitive discussion that we're going to have. It's a discussion that, you know, there's, there's some heartache, there's some happiness and I'm glad as I know you that the time that we're dealing with right now is the happiness part, but it always hasn't been that way. No there. And so uh, I don't care who starts, but actually chris why don't, why don't you share?
And kind of give us a little bit of an impetus of your story. Yeah. So for me it was just, I was introduced to pornography at a young age, I was like nine or 10 years old and then um, just off and on the rest of the time, the rest of my life just dealing with that. Um, as it came about, you know, taking on any opportunity. I had to look at it. And then a lot of them I got closer and and we got a gauge and stuff. I mean, I never disclosed to her that I ever had an issue with it. Um, and because to me, I was like, as soon as I get married, I won't even have to worry about anymore because I'll be married, that'll be good. But I was very wrong on that. And most at most sex addicts is that's what they're thinking is too. And that's just the adversary's way of saying, hey, you'll be okay, you don't need to say anything, you know, keep it to yourself. And so we got married and within, I don't know how long it took before I was looking at again, just because it was obviously not as readily available, but started looking at again.
And um, took the opportunity when internet came out and started looking at a lot more. And as I started a mortgage company, I started looking at it a lot. I'm just almost on a daily basis. And because there was no, I was all by myself, nobody's in the office and pretty soon within about three months, that wasn't enough. And so I started an affair with one of my ladies that was coming in as an account rep for mortgage company. And uh started that affair. And that carried on for about 20 months. And then there was multiple affairs within that time frame. And I got caught for one and I was actually a young man's president at the time. Um, got, I was relief from the calling and then I had a disciplinary court, my first disciplinary court in your church to and I was praying as we're sitting there waiting for them to decide what to do with me and the whole situation, I was praying that they would excommunicate me from the church because I was only disclosing the one affair that I got caught for and nothing else.
And then I, I was just praying because I, I figured, you know what if they excommunicate me, it'll be great because then I don't have to disclose all these other affairs. Just the one and I could be re baptized in a year, be totally forgiven of my sins and be totally good. And that's not the case. Can I stop you? Just for a second, totally warped thinking very worked. But doesn't that work thinking come from all the addiction and the years of covering up that we kind of have this twisted way of thinking that's um, just not correct. It's like Renee Brown said, you know, you you need to own your story and you're not owning your story at that time there. But you know, before we get too far into our chat here, I want to say something else and that is, is that to the two of you as you hear more of this story, you'll, you'll recognize that there's some heating that's taken place there as well. But as sensitive as a discussion and subject as this is the two of you go out and do a fireside chats with church groups.
You, you do other types of meetings helping those that have addictions to be able to recover and to hill from those from those. And so this is not a new kind of a conversation that we're having just over the table here, That we've been, we've been speaking for a long time since 2000 10, 12. No, well we started speaking, yeah, 2011, somewhere around there is when we started speaking and it just kind of kept going from there and, and we do fire sides and youth fire sides and speaking it up at uh, uh seminaries like seminaries and stuff like that and just talking and sharing our story. Sure. So the focus was the youth, we, we've had a variety, we've had adult groups and use groups. We start, we talk with people that are just starting recovery, um, spouses that might, I talked to a lot of spouses that are going through the trial trauma personally.
Um, chris talks a lot of men, it's been interesting how things have kind of taken shape for us. Like we didn't plan to share our story in any way, shape or form. We were actually asked to not share story for a time. And so when we were finally asked to share our story, I was very shocked like how do I share this story? But it's been a good, it's been a blessing for us. And when we are asked, you know, I'll say one more thing it as well, that that is that the story that you're telling this evening is not a story about a good person and a bad person here. It's not that at all. In fact, sometimes the choices that we make her very poor choices there and the opportunity from those poor choices really lies in how we react and how we deal with those choices and how we try to rectify those who we hurt there. And so we're gonna be talking about that there. But I think it was important to to share that foundation a little bit there because because again, this is something that is a very serious, serious consideration here and well, you know, and we're gonna hear more from Autumn as well as to how she dealt in this marriage with these uh these difficult issues.
But go ahead and continue your story there. I mean, um so I was actually only just fellowship during that time. So, so, uh membership was restricted a little bit and was not excommunicated, but then I continued an affair that I was having with a buddy's wife. And so he ended up finding out later. I was, I mean, this is months later, almost a year later and just the heat called his wife when I was with her and she's like, I was just dropping her off, we just left the alcohol store and she's like, you know, he also had started drinking. I started thinking so, so I wait to numb. Yeah, I was just knowing whatever I could and I I was seriously numb to feeling uh like I I just I didn't have feelings towards Autumn. Like I didn't love her anymore, I didn't want to be around her anymore. Um and that was me just justifying, you know? But I was just like, just totally numb. I was numb to the church all those feelings. And but when he found out about it, obviously he called my wife and and called on and let her know and by the time that I arrived home um Autumn or my mom had called me, she beat me to my house and she's like, you need to call 911 because I was trying to I haven't tried to kill herself.
And so I ran inside and picked up bottom off of the floor and she was just in and out of consciousness and I was holding her just praying and I was like, God, I will stop everything if you just let her live. Um she spent three days in the ICU and then another week in the LDS hospital and I slowly started coming out with with the affairs that I was having, she would ask me and she she knew, but she didn't know, But then she really, by that time she was like, okay, what do you have an affair with? So and so and I'm like, yeah, what about so And so yes. So I started coming clean and really had to do a whole lifestyle change. And we started the addiction recovery program right after that. I didn't I mean that was like the forefront of sexual addiction and we didn't even know what that really was and that I even had an addiction at all. And remember even talking to her that one time, I'm like, I don't have a sexual addiction. He goes, I think you totally do. I'm like, oh, he called you out, turns out I did.
So, there's a couple of things that, you know, I love, not love, but just have stood out to me with this one. All that distorted thinking, that's really what was going on. Was this distortion in your thinking process of if I do this, then this or if I drink this, then it'll numb this. So it won't hurt anybody. But in reality when Autumn attempted to take her life, it shattered all that distortion for a time. For a time. For a short time. It did. It's hard to look at yourself, it's hard to look at our pain, what causes us to screw up, literally. And you know, all of that stuff. And so here yeah, we can for a time, but until we really find deep down the reason for is to heal is for us. That's where I believe that that long term lasting healing can take place, right. I totally agree. So so on.
Um, let's, let's kind of take the story at this point with, with you. You are in the hospital, all kinds of thoughts obviously going through your mind. Yeah. My parents were very angry and rightfully so and they were like, we'll do whatever it takes to get you out of your home. If you decide to leave, we'll get you a place to stay if you want to go back to school, help you with that if you need a job. And I just said, I need to pray about what I need to do. And we had just moved from one word into another. And so I actually were LDS, sorry, we haven't affiliated our religion. I hope that's okay. That's fine. We had transitioned from one word into another. And so I actually had both of my bishops stop in and visit me while I was in the hospital. And both of them said, um, we will support whatever decision you make and you need to make this decision based on yourself, not what others are telling you not what outside influence just between you and the spirit.
Because let's be honest, if you had listened to everyone else, you wouldn't be in that you would not have been in the marriage. No, I would allow to be divorced for sure, I would have totally left. And so I prayed, I mean it sounds really weird because you're institute. I was in a institution and I'm praying, I'm sharing a bed room with this other person and I'm like on my knees crying and praying, just trying to fill the spirit on how to be guided. And I had this very distinct impression that I was supposed to stay with chris because of the glimpses of the man I could see him as in our marriage already and I knew that heavenly father will bless our lives. Now. I didn't know what I was signing up for when I made that decision, but it was very distinct on my heart and I knew I was gonna stay and I had angry parents and supportive family members to, they're like, okay, we'll support you.
That kind of started our recovery. And like he said, he started going to a sexual addiction therapist and then he ended his practice instead. I have this program that I want to refer you to. And he was referred to the program and then he had another disciplinary court and was excommunicated from our church. And then we walked into this program and the therapist walked up to me and said, do you remember me like, I have no idea who you are and this is like two weeks after my ex communication and he ended up being the therapist that was in chris's disciplinary court and chris said there's something about this man that I am going to know him and I was like okay. He was the only person that had asked me specifically in that disciplinary court, how I was doing. Um And I can remember somebody in that disciplinary court saying you just need to forgive.
I was just heartbroken because I'm like how do you just just forget like when you're so in the beginning process of recovery. Um So he started a recovery program and I did everything in my power in that recovery program to heal my own life. I did all my assignments. We had workbooks that we had to dig deep into our lives for I did everything full force. We were meeting with our bishop and stake president often I did that as well. Um But the problem was is that I was also doing the work for chris to hill and trying to control my addiction. Yeah, I had a lot of code. I'm using co dependent. I did quotation marks. It's not that anymore. It's called pro dependence. Or sometimes women in our circumstances will betrayal, trauma will cause women to do some of the things that they do just have automatic response because of the trauma that they experienced betrayal trauma response.
Yeah. Um So for 18 months I was doing everything to try and get us to work. And then I can remember my dad had taught me how to hack into a computer and so I hacked into his computer. I just showed up at his office one day, like handy to get on your computer is like what? Um I'm gonna hack into your computer And he goes, you don't know how I'm like, yes I do. And I found some things on his computer. Um I had feelings that he was still lying to me, that he wasn't being truthful or faithful and I had talked to my therapist about and he said Autumn, he will not be able to live a dual life forever. He'll either come clean with everything and tell you everything or he will end up taking his life, which was huge. I was like okay. And so I just started praying daily. Kay and my father, can you please show me um what I need to do with my life? And I can remember one day yeah, kneeling down and just sobbing in my kitchen and praying to God to please just take the feelings that I was feeling, the overwhelm the overwhelming that I was, I was checking on him all the time.
I was looking at his phone all the time. I was just constantly I call it crazy making it's just nor it is normal behavior for a wife. Um in the beginning and heavenly father touched my heart and said Autumn, if you give me chris and you let him on this addiction, I will heal your life. And I was like, okay. And I didn't know what that was gonna look like. I was scared because I thought I'm going to be divorced. I have no idea what this is gonna, where this is going to lead. And so I'm like, okay, I'm gonna, I am actually going to do that. I'm going to give chris to God and I'm gonna just keep doing what I'm doing and I'm gonna go down this path and hopefully at some point we meet in the middle and a couple months after that we were with our daughter and a group of little girls and a movie and a church movie and chris had the spirit distinctly tell him you need this back in your life.
You need time. Your family needs you. And at that point I was like, I don't know what I want to do with church, I don't know what I want to do with my family. And and it was, it was very distinct that your family needs you and you need to be an active member of the church again and you need to get the priesthood back and they need you to provide blessings for that for your family. And though it took me about almost two months to get the courage enough to come and talk to her. So almost the same time that she's getting that confirmation from God to say, hey I got this, you, you give me chris and he knew what he was doing, He's had this planned out this guidance for us and, and I now I know why because of this road that we're on now, but at the time I finally was like, okay, I'm going to tell her. So I told her everything from growing up through the rest of my life. I just laid everything out. I told her everything in a therapy setting. We disclose it at home.
And that was the, it was really interesting you talk about that healing, that rapid healing. As soon as that disclosure happened, a lot of things started falling into place. We started checking in every day. We have so physically, emotionally spiritually, sexually and self care. We were checking in every day in those five areas. Um, for about six months, he was telling me that he was having the slip every day and after the six months and I would be like, thank you very much for telling me. And then I go out in my car and screen. She wasn't so nice. And then after about six months I said, you're not utilizing your group, you're not utilizing your Relapse prevention sheet. You're basically called him out and I wasn't nice. And um, some things started to click and he started to see more sobriety. He wasn't white knuckling it. He calls it white knuckling. Um, and he would like make it a month and get a one month chip and then make it 90 days and get that and then he would slip and so he um after all of that kind of happened, they just healing just started taking place pretty quickly for our family and with us.
So can I share something that you put on facebook? Uh Probably about five or six months ago. I was really impressed and I should probably say as well that I I knew you during this time and uh I I knew the struggles that you were going through there and and uh I'm a watcher of people and I watched very closely every time I would see the two of you. And uh it was during that time that you started getting to really know each other I would say. And it was during that time that I started seeing some healing take place. It didn't happen quickly though and it took a long time. But one of the things that autumn you said in a post and I think you're a lot like me when it comes to healing. I love I love to write and sometimes my riding takes me to a place where I began to heal and you said this, you said I wanted to talk a little bit about fasting.
What is fasting for you. First of all, it's really hard. Um It's been a really, I don't know, I'm crazy. Um um I've seen a lot of miracles from fasting um in my own life. Um It's really interesting. I can like remember specific fasts for him or for our Children and having those prayers answered. Some of my fast along with prayer have taken years to answer, but it's a really important part of my life. I don't necessarily feel great when I do it, but I do feel great spiritually. So fasting for you is more than just going without food or drink. What other things incorporate your fasting experience? Um Usually when I fast I try and read my scriptures and do some pondering.
Um I'll read articles. Um I talked to people. It's really interesting. Sometimes I've had like thoughts to speak with somebody while I'm fasting or an impression to listen to certain music while I'm fasting or walk line in a fast just to kind of be present with God. In other words, that fasting experience puts us in a position where we can listen uh for those things that might be harder to hear in everyday life. So knowing that here's what you said, I wanted to talk a little bit about fasting 14 years ago my life hit an all time low and by low, I mean the lowest of low, I found out about an affair my husband was having with a friend. It shattered my world so much that I tried to take my own life. God had other plans though for many months and years. I spent much time in prayer and fasting for our marriage, our family, my heart and my husband. And then I'd go to work, my husband went to work and God went to work.
I love that it's it's all three of you were working together, it wasn't just the two of you, you you put God into the equation and you were working for a unified purpose even though you had your own job to do your own. You were in your own lanes came together and God was that connecting point? That triangle at the top and then at the working in your lanes with him and the miracles. Sorry, no, no, there's no interruption here. It's a great conversation. And so speaking of God, you said that he showed us through earthly angels how we could live our lives. Councilors, 12 step programs are ecclesiastical leader. He showed up through family and friends and into our lives that showed love, support and compassion. He healed our hearts. And this is when I know that you've got something you want to say about one broken piece at a time.
You know I love that concept. Some healing really started to take place for me when I was preparing presentation for women and and we were talking about the woman at the well and how you know here she was from the new test from the new testament. The first person that jesus christ told who he was right and she was a broken woman and and anyway, all of this stuff and as I was pondering and preparing and thinking of what could I offer a message of hope and how can this be? And I started to think of myself and my Brokenness and then I I thought for some random reason which, well I know why it was, but you know, all of a sudden this God put these thoughts into my, into my heart and my soul about our son that passed away and his scars and how proud he was of his scars.
And he carried around these glossy eight by 11 so he could show everybody he's really yucky winds and scars that I couldn't stand to look at. He was proud of him. It brings up pain for me. And I thought, what is the difference here? I hide my scars. He's showing his to the world and proud of his scars. And then and it actually was through some conversations with with these women in this discussion that I was leading and they said it showed what he overcame. And and then I thought, huh? And then we talked a little bit further and we talked about, well who puts these broken pieces together? And we talked about the beautiful japanese art of consumer G. And it's this precious metal that puts these pieces back together which then makes it more valuable of a ceramic bowl of a ceramic bowl of some sort. And then I started seeing me and envisioning me as that broken piece of pottery and whose precious metal began to put me back together.
Right and and that's when that healing took place. And so when you talk about one broken piece at a time, you know that's that's a very vivid concept for us erin you went on to say that Chris has had 11 years of sobriety and he said that we both work really hard on recovery every day and I'm going to ask you a minute what that what that looks like 11 years later. Right. Uh You said that we've come a long way. A long way indeed. I truly believe that fasting and prayer played a part in this healing. Then you said, I can testify, I've watched miracles and fold in many ways. God repaired the breach and helped us to heal the Brokenness. I believe God loves each and every one of his Children. You said, you said he shows up for us, he hears our prayers and knows our hearts fasting has always played a role in my life. It has helped me focus and Heaven with Heaven on and its power. And then you went on to quote a scripture Taki you you mentioned repairing the breach And you you've shared this scripture here, Isaiah 58 12 which says, and they shall be of thee shall build the old waste places thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations and thou shall be called the repairer of the breach the restorer of paths to dwell in.
Help us understand what that means. I say it's kind of hard to understand first of all, yeah, I actually had a friend read that to me when I was starting recovery and I had a powerful experience. I had a therapist do kind of like a genealogy with addiction and how how generations of addiction have affected your life in your family. And I did the assignment really well. And she actually asked chris and I to come stand and face each other and she called people up that represented our families. And so I had a group of people standing with me and I had chris had a group of people standing with him and we were facing each other and she's like you're repairing this Brokenness, all of this is going to be healed and it's going to go out and heal the future. And then shortly after that, my friend read that scripture and she said you're the repair of the breach, You're repairing what's been broken and desolate and yucky and void of life and you're repairing it to beauty and a sacred space and you're spreading that out into generate future generations.
And that is why I love that scripture so much. And I also believe you're repairing and healing the past generations, That generational healing is taking place through you too. I agree. So lest you think that this is a healing all about with, with Autumn, uh that's not the case chris there was some great healing that took place with you during this time as well. Absolutely Tell us about that. Um Well as I started making those lifestyle changes, I started mm hmm. I started seeing myself of who I really am instead of this worthless. Just too far gone to even feel God's love or get be close to him. Um finally realizing that I'm a son of God and no matter where I'm at in my life, he loves me and he's not gonna love me anymore because I get better or you know, because I'm, I'm trying harder or because I'm working harder because I'm, I'm trying to do better.
He just loves me because of who I am. So let me let me stop you there for a second again. We started out with that quote with Burn A Brown owning your story is the bravest thing that you'll ever do. When did you begin to start owning your story? Was there a particular event or circumstance that give you that epiphany that you needed to change? Um yeah, that Autumn talked briefly about it when I was watching the movie that we were with our daughter and her friends and and so as I heard that and I knew that I needed to change. Um then I finally disclosed that to Autumn. But then really where it came to where we started helping other people and understanding that because I had a friend of mine that was in the l scorn presidency and he was like, hey, I'm teaching a lesson on sunday, would you? And I don't come and be willing to share your story. I was like, sure that'd be fine. You know, that'd be great. You know, we're showing sharing an elder's corner and a group of a group of guys and we set it up just like a 12 step program, everybody's in a circle. And he shared a little bit of his story and then organize, shared our story and it changed lives.
There were numerous guys that went and talked to their ecclesiastical either after that because they're like, wow, please these people if they've made it, made it this far, we can do it, I can do that. So they went and talked to their, their bishop about it. And then um, I told my brother about it and he's like, well why don't you come and do it up here and in North Africa. And I'm like, okay, so we did the same thing and it was just incredible same responses. Then we talked to our state president and um, I wish he called us in. So it's really weird. He had heard that we had spoken because they get phone calls and they're like, can these two people come and speak to our yes, yeah, whatever. And so he called us in and he sat us down and um chris has been re baptized, you've been re baptized. Yeah, he'd been re baptized and he was, he had been called to be facilitators for the LDS 12 step programs. So we were sharing about that message of hope.
Yeah, along with that and he said, I think we'd like to ask you to speak to every word in our steak and I was like, huh, the elders point every comp Congregation. So I believe that there were about 12 congregations in our area of men. So I went and sat in these men's group, men's meaning the only woman Um for 12 different, it took a year. We did over a year, we went once a month to speak to those groups and that kind of just was healing for me. And this is the thing, we, we've had a lot of people say, please don't share what that's the word, we don't want to praise the sin or put focus on the center, we want to focus on the savior and sometimes I get angry at that, but I see where we're kind of like, you know, we don't want to focus on this thing that happened, we don't want to focus on the and glorify it was more like glorify this in, we want to use your story of hope in the atonement and I really had to sit with that and be like your, you know what, jesus did all this for us, He did it all.
He really Yeah, yeah, yeah, he did so much to help us in our, in our recovery. Like we owe that it's the 12th step going out and not everybody shares their story like we do and we don't share unless we're asked like, I mean we're open people, it's just been a healing, that's been part of our healing process In the 12 step. I just, my personal me recognizing and Chris is that he talks about how um he would pray to God about what he wanted him to be. Like, show me the man that I'm supposed to be, show me the husband that I'm supposed to be, show me that I can fight for you today. And that's kind of when I was like, whoa, who is this person? Like his heart had changed so much and so drastically. It was just a beautiful thing to see. So because of those prayers and those shifts and dynamics of those questions, I think you had clarity because you were asking to see, you know, and you wanted to see you wanted to feel instead of before, it was what can I do to numb what can I do to get rid of the pain, what can I do to hide and all of a sudden it's quite opposite.
But I also look at the hope that would have taken place as you met with these group of men, that one you could still stand up, you could still beyond you could become honest men and have a marriage that you only dreamed of because it was all a lie before that. But then for them to see you autumn and the healing taking place in you, I would think that fear is kind of part of what helps people back even more powerful is because I'm there with, you know, I share my part of the story, but then she shares her side of the story and really what she went through and people are like, wow. And you know, our story isn't, I mean our story, that's your story is our story and everyone else has has their own story. And sometimes in this process actually, most of the time it doesn't end like ours, there's divorce, there's, there's messes and I honor the stories that I hear with that because their story is just as beautiful.
It's different. Um but they've had healing the healing power of the Savior just as much as I have, right? And you're not discounting that. No. Plus you're not saying, hey, my way is the only way just like your bishops came to you and said, we will support you in the decision you make with. And so everybody has that agency. Yeah, there's a great quote that you, you had in one of your posts there as well from uh the author Sheila Ray Gregor. And she said, I hope that when people look at my marriage, they don't think she has a great marriage because she chose the right guy or he has a great marriage because he chose the right woman. Then she says, I hope that they would realize that they have a great marriage because they both chose God. And that's so true. Like I love that. I think a lot of problems in marriage are because we go to our spouse for validation first.
We don't go to our God for validation first, which doesn't work because our spouses, our human, their men were mad kind and so we're not God and we're going to fail at some point if we go to them for that validation. And so when we go to God for our validation, our spouses validation is just like the added icing on that cake from heavenly father. His love that he gives us and we don't have to hustle for his love are worth was set. That's what are worth was set before we came here. We don't have to hustle for it. We don't have to work extra hard for it. There's this Video that we watched and I don't remember who says that he's a preacher, but he's all God loves us because he loves us because he loves us because he loves us. And he says because he loves us like 30 more times. And I'm like that is called the inheritance, okay, I want to put that lead in the show notes it.
Seriously, I've actually done the church talks off of this piece right here because it is so beautiful and it's so the point of the true love that God has for us and that's where I get the information about, you know, he doesn't love us because we're going to try harder and it talks about all that kind of stuff and it is used get our validation from him and his love and then our marriages are just so much better. And I think people recognize that in people who have got at the head of their marriage. I think people I know people, you are people, those people, I have examples of those kinds of people in my life that I'm like, what is so special about them? Like what makes their marriage was special and every single one, God is leading their marriage. And I can't under emphasize what you just said that God leads their marriage because if you would have, if you would have done what the world would say, you wouldn't be in this marriage today. And and if you would have listened to other people, you wouldn't be in this marriage today.
You had to listen to yourself and you had to, as you mentioned before, allow God to be part of that triangle to be put to part of that partnership there. And so as important as that is, let's just talk for a minute about the things that you do every day. You mentioned five things that you do is check ins, We did that in the beginning after that. You talked about, what does recovery look like every day now is a little bit different than in the beginning when I still, I still have dailies that, that I do. Um, one of them is a keep um, some keys and I actually just left him because I was changing so quick to get out of here. But I went to what's called the warrior heart boot camp and it's a, it's a based off a book called Wild at Heart by john Eldredge and it's a three day weekend. Just all about your connection with God, learning how to be the man that we're supposed to be, how to fight for our wives hearts and how to fight for our kids hearts and most of all have to fight for our own heart and through my addiction, I didn't know that I ever should fight for my own heart.
I was too busy trying to please everybody else didn't realize I should fight for my own heart. But as I went to this boot camp, it completely changed my life and changed my view on God's true love for me. And so we get dog tags at the boot camp. The first one that was held here was in Utah in 2000 and nine and I'm like, I want to be a part of this. And so as I keep those, I keep that dog tag on my keys because it's a daily reminder of what I need to fight for. I need to fight for Adam's heart, I need to fight for my kids, his heart and I need to fight for my heart and I need to fight for my connection with God because it is, it's something, it's a relationship, it's something that I still have to continue to do and so that's part of my daily every day. The other part of my daily is, you know, when I first started when I started making these life changes lifestyle changes, I was like, what can I do different? And part of that is I want to learn how to love my wife again. So I started praying to God and I'm like, hey, show me the things that I love about my wife, open my eyes to that again so I can see how I can love her again, I want to love her again.
But I don't know how. And so he started showing me all these things that I fell in love with autumn from the very beginning that I lost through my addiction, I lost that site through my addiction and and so I started seeing her in a different way. I started focusing on all these beautiful things about my life instead of focusing on all these negative things about her. So I started seeing her in a totally different light. And those prayers don't change. I still pray to this day. I have over 12 years of sobriety and those prayers still don't change because I'm like, I don't ever want to lose sight of what I love about my life. I love her to death and I just pray about it every day because it's something that makes me happy and it's something that I can focus on instead of being focused on all these negative things and getting resentful and part of my things, I don't negotiate with my addiction and what I, what I mean by that is I don't get on facebook and just start browsing and looking at things and stuff because yeah, there's not pornography on there. But I know where it will take me because pretty soon just women in swimsuits or it's not gonna be enough and then it'll take me down the side of the road and then pretty soon the pornography doesn't give me enough and I'll take me down this road.
And so I don't negotiate with my addiction that way. But also with with women. I don't, I made a pact with myself and I was like, there's, I don't go to lunch with women alone. I don't ride in cars with women alone And I was on for five years. I was on the women's council realtor, The board of realtors. Um, and I was on that board for five years. And so one of them, they were like, hey, we're gonna go dolphin And it was up north and two of them were already living up north and one of them lived down here and she's like, Hey chris and this is, I'm the only guy out of like there's like 11 or 12 other women that were there. And she's like, Hey chris, do you want to ride together? And I said, no, I don't. And she's, she's like really like kind of, you know, like funny and she's like really? And I said, yeah, I said, I don't ride with women alone. I don't think it's appropriate. And all the heads looked at me, all the women looked at me and they're like, that's so awesome. And I'm like, because I don't want to negotiate with my addiction. I don't care.
Who knows about my addiction now. And I don't care about how people feel about, you know, you know that I wouldn't be afraid to say something like that where some guys are like, oh, I don't know their feelings. And I'm like, I don't care what I care about is my, my recovery that's more important to me than some other person's feelings. And autumns feelings are more important to me than those other feelings. You know, I love so many things that you've said in this last little bit here, the one that no negotiating, it's powerful, You know, boundaries. You don't negotiate because when we negotiate with them we get hurt and we heard others, that's just what happens. But the other thing I love when you talked about your prayers and your dailies, you know, for me if I stop doing those those things every day that keep me connected with God to keep me connected with with Mark.
Um that helped me feel healthy, you know, physically spiritually emotionally. If I if I miss a day I'm more likely to miss the next day, the next day and they start to slip and so it has to happen daily for its protection when in the beginning of recovery, you know, he was going to s A he was going to group fit for therapy, he was seeing our bishop. A lot of people start with the 12 step program then they'll do like 90 meetings in 90 days and Now we're 12 years down the road. And it looks differently. I feel like it's a maintenance phase in recovery and I'm in that maintenance Phase two as a spouse. It's you know, I do different my stuff differently. I actually though Just started going doing 12 step meeting for spouse, family and friends. Again, just because I felt a prompting that I needed to open my book and redo the steps.